Posts Tagged ‘Triple A’

Heather HunterSmiles, safety and scenery mark top contenders for publication cover fame

ORLANDO, Fla., (Aug. 26, 2014) Are you one of the many Americans who take your pets on vacation?  Whether your favorite fur ball prefers hiking, boating or some other pursuit, capture the fun and enter your best shot by November 30 for a chance to show off your pet in a big way.

For the seventh consecutive year, the AAA PetBook Photo Contest is sponsored by Best Western, which has more than 1,600 pet-friendly hotels worldwide. Photos are judged on the ability to convey the joys of traveling safely with pets, along with artistic qualities. “Pets who are naturally happy when on-the-go can make excellent photo subjects at scenic destinations,” said PetBook Product Manager Sara Demko. “The challenge is to combine all of the contest attributes — joy, safety and travel — in one clear, well-lit image.”

“When snapping photos or choosing one to enter, contest participants can improve their results by running through a quick checklist,” added Demko. “First, be sure to photograph pets from the front to show their facial features and emotions. Ensure they’re wearing appropriate harnesses or safety vests for the situation. Picture them in a vacation setting, and look for an angle that separates your pet’s coloring from the background. And make sure the lighting and resolution are strong enough to show details.” Tips, contest rules and entry forms are provided at AAA.com/PetBook, along with plenty of examples in the contest photo gallery.

First- and second-place contest winners grace the back cover and spine of Traveling With Your Pet: The AAA PetBook®, and more than 40 finalists are pictured inside the book. Winner and finalist photos are also showcased on the AAA.com/PetBook photo gallery — a virtual brag book for proud pet parents. Additional prizes include cash, pet treats, copies of the book and, for the first-place winner, a $150 Best Western Travel Card.

For everyone who travels with pets throughout the U.S. and Canada, The AAA PetBook is a must-have resource. The annually updated guide provides detailed listings — including pet policies, amenities and fees —for more than 13,000 AAA Approved and Diamond Rated hotels, plus more than 800 pet-friendly campgrounds. Listings also include nearly 700 AAA Approved and Diamond Rated restaurants that welcome pets in outside dining areas. For recreation planning, the book lists national public lands and attractions that allow pets and 300 dog parks in popular travel destinations. Tips for first-time and seasoned pet travelers address packing suggestions, pet etiquette, border crossing and emergency vet clinics.

Traveling with Your Pet: The AAA PetBook is available at many AAA and CAA offices at discounted member prices and select bookstores with a cover price of $18.95. The current edition is also available in digital formats for popular tablets and e-readers through online booksellers at a suggested digital price of $9.99.

About AAA

As North America’s largest motoring and leisure travel organization, AAA provides more than 54 million members with travel, insurance, financial and automotive-related services. Since its founding in 1902, the not-for-profit, fully tax-paying AAA has been a leader and advocate for the safety and security of all travelers. AAA clubs can be visited on the Internet at AAA.com.

About Best Western International, Inc.

Best Western International, Inc., headquartered in Phoenix, Ariz., is a privately held hotel brand made up of more than 4,000* BEST WESTERN®, BEST WESTERN PLUS® and BEST WESTERN PREMIER® hotels in more than 100* countries and territories worldwide. Now celebrating 68 years of hospitality, Best Western welcomes hundreds of thousands of guests nightly. Best Western provides its hoteliers with global operational, sales, marketing and promotional support, and online and mobile booking capabilities. More than 20 million travelers are members of the brand’s award-winning loyalty program Best Western Rewards®, one of the few programs in which members earn points that never expire and can be redeemed at any Best Western hotel worldwide. The brand’s partnerships with AAA/CAA, Minor League Baseball, and Harley-Davidson® provide travelers with exciting ways to interact with the brand. In 2013, Best Western earned our highest level of brand recognition, including our fifth AAA/CAA Hotel Partner of the Year award, second Compuware Best of the Web Gold award, fourth No. 1 ranking in Brand Keys Consumer Loyalty Engagement Index for midscale hotels and seventh TTG Asia Best Mid-range Hotel Brand. Forty-one percent of Best Western hotels worldwide won TripAdvisor Certificates of Excellence for customer satisfaction.

For more information or to make a reservation, please visit bestwestern.com.

Heather HunterLabor market improvements and positive consumer expectations drive 1.3 percent increase in holiday travelers

ORLANDO, Fla., (August 21, 2014) – AAA Travel projects 34.7 million Americans will journey 50 miles or more from home during the Labor Day holiday weekend, the highest volume for the holiday since 2008 and a 1.3 percent increase over 2013. Nearly 86 percent of travelers (29.7 million) will celebrate the holiday with a final road trip before summer comes to a close and children head back to school. The Labor Day holiday travel period is defined as Thursday, August 28 to Monday, September 1.

Highlights from 2014 Labor Day Travel Forecast include:

  • Historically, when Labor Day weekend begins in August, Americans have shown a higher tendency to travel.
  • Consumer spending has surpassed income growth, indicating that Americans are willing to take on debt to finance a vacation.
  • Automobile travel will increase by 1.4 percent this year, with 29.7 million travelers hitting the road.
  • Nearly eight percent of travelers (2.65 million) will travel by air, a one percent increase from last year.
  • Travelers will encounter airfares just two percent higher than last year and daily car rental costs that remain consistent at $51.
  • Hotel rates at AAA Two Diamond hotels are nine percent higher than last year and Three Diamond hotels are six percent more.

Additional Resources

“As the economy makes modest gains, more Americans are joining the labor force this year,” said AAA Chief Operating Officer Marshall L. Doney. “With Labor Day symbolizing the American workers’ contributions to the strength and prosperity of our country, it’s only fitting that millions are choosing to celebrate this positive direction with an all-American road trip.”

Consumer spending is continuing to rise in spite of stagnant income growth. In the third quarter of this year spending is expected to increase 3.8 percent year-over-year, while disposable personal income is only expected to increase 1.4 percent. Reliance on credit cards, rather than increasing income, is fueling holiday travel spending this year. While economic growth is slow, consumers are feeling more comfortable taking on debt.

“This year, Americans are more optimistic about their financial situation,” continued Doney.  “Consumer spending continues to outpace disposable income, indicating that Americans are comfortable using their credit cards to take one last summer vacation this year.”

Travelers likely to pay lower gas prices for Labor Day

Most U.S. consumers are paying the lowest gas prices for early August since 2010. AAA expects gas prices to have little impact on the number of people traveling for Labor Day, though lower prices could help make travel more affordable.  Barring a major development, such as a Gulf Coast hurricane, prices are likely to remain relatively low leading up to the holiday weekend compared to recent years, which will allow travelers to allocate more of their budgets towards travel expenses. The current price of gas is $3.44 compared to $3.59 on Labor Day last year. AAA provides the latest gas prices for the nation, states and metro areas at FuelGaugeReport.AAA.com.

Airfare and hotel costs rise, car rental fees flat

According to AAA’s Leisure Travel Index, hotel rates for AAA Three Diamond lodgings are expected to increase six percent from one year ago with travelers spending an average of $171 per night compared to $161 last year. The average hotel rate for AAA Two Diamond hotels has risen nine percent with an average cost of $125 per night.

Weekend daily car rental rates will average $51, the same as last year. Airfares have risen two percent with the average round-trip, discounted fare for the top 40 U.S. routes costing $219, up from $214 last year.

AAA offers digital travel planning resources

AAA’s digital tools for travel planning ‘on the go’ include eTourBook guides for tablets and smartphones, available free to members at AAA.com/ebooks. Choose from 101 top North American destinations including cities, like the award-winning Las Vegas title, regions, like Wine Country, and National Parks.

The free AAA Mobile app for iPhone, iPad and Android offers GPS navigation to help travelers map a route, find current gas prices and find discounts, book a hotel and access AAA roadside assistance. Members using the iPad version can access interactive Top Destinations travel guides for 10 popular cities. Travelers can learn more at AAA.com/mobile.

On AAA.com, travelers can find thousands of AAA Approved and Diamond Rated hotels and restaurants using AAA’s TripTik Travel Planner or the searchable Travel Guides at AAA.com/Travel. Every AAA Approved establishment offers the assurance of acceptable cleanliness, comfort and hospitality, and ratings of One to Five Diamonds help travelers find the right match for amenities and services.

AAA’s projections are based on economic forecasting and research by IHS Global Insight. The Colorado-based business information provider teamed with AAA in 2009 to jointly analyze travel trends during the major holidays. AAA has been reporting on holiday travel trends for more than two decades. More information including an infographic for the AAA / IHS Global Insight 2014 Labor Day Travel Forecast can be found here.

As North America’s largest motoring and leisure travel organization, AAA provides more than 54 million members with travel, insurance, financial and automotive-related services. Since its founding in 1902, the not-for-profit, fully tax-paying AAA has been a leader and advocate for the safety and security of all travelers. AAA clubs can be visited on the Internet at AAA.com.

Michael GreenStatement by Bob Darbelnet, President and CEO of AAA

(WASHINGTON, July 31, 2014) “AAA is disappointed that the House has allowed politics and an easily fixable drafting error to interfere with a bipartisan proposal that would set the stage for a long-term transportation bill. It is imperative that the Highway Trust Fund remain solvent, but Congress ultimately must work to secure the multi-year funding for transportation that American motorists expect and deserve.

“The Senate bill would have positioned Congress to work toward passage of multi-year, fully funded transportation legislation following the elections in November. The House extension delays the tough decisions until 2015, which puts jobs, the economy and American mobility at risk. AAA looks forward to working with those leaders in Congress who seek to secure a multi-year transportation bill that focuses on results, ensures adequate funding and keeps the safety of our roads and bridges a national priority.”

Michael Green(WASHINGTON, July 30, 2014) AAA’s President and CEO, Bob Darbelnet, today sent the following letter to Congressional leaders urging them to fix the Highway Trust Fund this year:

Dear Speaker Boehner and Leader Pelosi,

As the nation’s largest organization representing motorists, AAA urges the House to act immediately to take up and pass the bipartisan Senate bill to extend funding for surface transportation programs until December of this year.

Funding for America’s roads and bridges is yet again in imminent danger of running out. It is imperative that you act swiftly to ensure the immediate solvency of the Highway Trust Fund; however congressional focus must remain a multi-year proposal that will meet the long-term needs of drivers. This is accomplished in the Senate bill, which passed with broad bipartisan support.

The best short-term remedy is one that extends funding until December and positions Congress to work toward passage of a long-term, fully funded transportation bill following the elections in November. An extension that delays the tough decisions until 2015 jeopardizes Congress’ ability to reach an agreement on a long-term transportation funding solution and puts jobs, the economy, and American mobility at risk.

For this reason, AAA urges you to take up and pass the bipartisan Senate bill without delay.

Sincerely,

Robert L. Darbelnet

 

Nancy White“AAA commends the Senate for taking a major first step toward making a long-term investment in America’s transportation infrastructure. The passage of the bipartisan amendment, proposed by Senators Boxer, Corker and Carper, sends a strong signal that Congress recognizes the importance of passing a multi-year, sustainable funding solution to fix the nation’s transportation crisis and is willing to put politics aside and work together to enhance American mobility and improve safety.

“The House must now follow suit and act immediately to pass this amended bill, which will prevent the immediate insolvency of the Highway Trust Fund. However they must also commit to reaching a long-term solution to our nation’s transportation funding needs by the December deadline that has been set in this legislation. In the coming months, AAA will continue to advocate for a long-term transportation bill that focuses on results, ensures adequate funding, and keeps the safety of our roads and bridges a national priority.”

 

Erin SteppHarris Poll EquiTrend® study names AAA Insurance highest among competitors in familiarity, quality and purchase consideration

ORLANDO, Fla., July 29, 2014 AAA Insurance has earned “Brand of the Year” status for its property and casualty insurance offerings, according to the 2014 Harris Poll EquiTrend® study.

“AAA is honored to be recognized by American consumers as the highest-ranked property and casualty insurance brand,” says AAA Chief Operating Officer Marshall L. Doney. “AAA’s century-long commitment to provide our now 54 million members with top-notch service and member value extends to our automobile and home insurance offerings.”

Using an academically-vetted brand equity model that examines familiarity, quality and purchase consideration, Harris’ annual survey captures and analyzes over 40,000 American opinions on 1,500+ brands from 170 different industry categories.  Brand perceptions, such as emotional connection, functional attributes, brand awareness, influence and familiarity are measured and ranked against key competitors in each category.  In 2014, AAA Insurance ranked highest among 12 competitors in the Property & Casualty Insurance category, scoring 13 percent higher than the category average.

“For more than 100 years, AAA has been committed to offering superior insurance products at very competitive rates,” continued Doney. “Whether at home, on the highway, or in preparation of life’s unexpected changes, AAA Insurance provides our members with peace of mind for the road ahead.”

AAA Insurance received the highest numerical Equity Score among Property & Casualty Insurance brands included in the 2014 Harris Poll EquiTrend Study, which is based on opinions of 41,806 U.S. consumers ages 15 and over surveyed online between January 3 and January 31, 2014.  Individual opinions may differ.  “Highest Ranked” was determined by a pure ranking of a sample of Property & Casualty Insurance brands. To learn more about AAA Insurance, visit a local AAA club, or online AAA.com.

As North America’s largest motoring and leisure travel organization, AAA provides more than 54 million members with travel, insurance, financial and automotive-related services. Since its founding in 1902, the not-for-profit, fully tax-paying AAA has been a leader and advocate for the safety and security of all travelers. AAA clubs can be visited on the Internet at AAA.com.

Research yields up to seven percent mpg improvement and CO2 reduction

  • AAA tested three vehicles equipped with automatic stop-start systems using the EPA’s “urban” driving cycle. With the automatic stop-start system engaged, the vehicles delivered improved fuel economy of up to seven percent over tests with the automatic stop-start technology disengaged.
  • Based on these findings, these systems can improve fuel economy, saving motorists up to $179 in annual fuel costs, based upon driving 15,000 miles a year in a vehicle that gets 20 mpg with fuel prices at $3.65 per gallon.

 

MichaelYaeger

ORLANDO, Fla., (July 24, 2014) – New research from AAA shows that automatic stop-start automotive technology delivers a significant fuel economy benefit. Test results indicated that automatic stop-start systems provide a five percent to seven percent improvement in fuel economy and reduction in carbon dioxide emissions compared with tests conducted on the same vehicle with the automatic stop-start system disabled.

Additional Resources

“Up to seven percent improved fuel economy can mean a $179 annual fuel savings* for consumers,” says Greg Brannon, Director of AAA’s Automotive Engineering and Industry Relations team. “The technology requires only minor adjustment for motorists – automatic stop-start technology is simply applied to standard combustion engines.”

Automatic stop-start systems turn off the engine when the vehicle is at a complete stop − such as in traffic or at a stoplight. When the driver releases the brake or the clutch, the engine starts and moves forward. While the engine is stopped, systems and gadgets run on power from the vehicle’s battery. The feature most often deploys in city driving scenarios – versus highway operation – and may feel slightly different to motorists until they become accustomed to the automatic stop-start sensation. The benefits, however, will not be realized if the feature is turned off.

AAA put three automatic stop-start vehicles through the Environmental Protection Agency’s “urban” cycle, which simulates a commuting trip covering 11.04 miles at an average speed of 21.2 miles-per-hour. The simulation is part urban driving – including frequent stops – and part highway driving. This test was selected to ensure that the stop-start systems had an opportunity to work as they would on a normal commute. A 2013 Ford Fusion, a 2014 Mercedes Benz CLS550 and a 2013 Chevrolet Malibu were tested. The AAA research was conducted with the Auto Club of Southern California’s Automotive Research Center.

Automatic stop-start vehicles are still new to North American motorists, and drivers may not be familiar with the features and benefits of this technology. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration have set standards to increase the Corporate Average Fuel Economy levels to 54.5 (approximately 40 window sticker) miles per gallon by 2025, giving automakers further incentive to escalate fuel-saving technologies. Navigant Research’s 2013 automatic stop-start vehicles assessment projects that only 500,000 of the vehicles sold in the United States in 2013 included an automatic stop-start system, but that number could exceed seven million by 2022.

The study is part of AAA’s Driving Fuel Efficiency series, which also includes the electric vehicle climate study and future fuel-economy studies.

AAA’s Automotive Engineering team conducts proprietary research to better understand consumer implications of automotive technology, design and functionality.

As North America’s largest motoring and leisure travel organization, AAA provides more than 54 million members with travel, insurance, financial and automotive-related services. Since its founding in 1902, the not-for-profit, fully tax-paying AAA has been a leader and advocate for the safety and security of all travelers. AAA clubs can be visited on the Internet at AAA.com.

About AAA’s Driving Fuel Efficiency Series: From driving tips that increase gas mileage to the latest fuel-saving automotive technology, AAA’s Driving Fuel Efficiency series will reveal research findings and expert advice to help motorists make educated driving decisions.

*Fuel savings are based on driving 15,000 miles a year in a vehicle that averages 20 mpg with fuel prices at $3.65 per gallon. These savings do not include other factors relative to ownership costs of vehicles equipped with automatic stop-start systems, such as potentially higher costs to replace the upgraded battery or starter typically used in these vehicles.

AAA Reaction to GM Senate Commerce Hearing

July 17th, 2014 by Kerrie

Heather HunterORLANDO, Fla., (July 17, 2014) – “Today’s Senate Commerce hearing again sheds light on the unacceptable failure of GM executive management to adequately oversee and respond to early warning signals of potential vehicle safety problems. AAA acknowledges GM’s recent steps to transform its corporate culture by implementing new protocols and procedures intended to help prevent similar crises in the future. However, it is clear more must be done to restore public trust in the recall process, repair compromised vehicles and compensate motorists who have been impacted by GM’s failure to protect their safety. This includes a thorough examination of the existing regulatory structure, and putting in place any changes deemed necessary.”

“AAA continues to support efforts by Congress to raise the maximum fine that NHTSA can levy on automakers, along with legislation introduced by Senators Markey and Blumenthal calling for increased transparency in the recall process. These steps should be taken immediately, and Congress should further use its authority to identify additional ways to help ensure that a tragedy such as this is never allowed to occur again.”

SMichael Greentatement by Bob Darbelnet, President and CEO of AAA

(WASHINGTON, July 10, 2014) “Funding for America’s roads and bridges is once again in imminent danger of running out.  Both the House and Senate will act today on short-term plans to prop up the Highway Trust Fund, but it remains unclear whether either proposal will help meet the long-term needs of drivers.

“The only way that a short-term patch of the Highway Trust Fund is acceptable is if it buys Congress a few months to work on finalizing a bipartisan, long-term agreement later this year. Any proposal that allows this issue to be pushed into 2015 would kill the momentum to find a real funding solution. Renewing the debate next year under a new Congress would start us over at square one, making it nearly impossible to secure long-term transportation funding anytime soon.

“It’s time our leaders in Washington stop the hand-wringing and start taking real steps to shore up funding for the roads and bridges that we rely on every day.  Continuing to put off tough decisions about how to fund transportation will risk road safety and compromise our economic vitality.”

Michael Green(WASHINGTON, July 7, 2014) The national average price of gas has fallen for ten straight days, but remains the highest price for this calendar date since 2008.  Yesterday, for the first time since June 11, the national average price for regular unleaded gasoline reflected a month-over-month discount.  Today’s average is $3.65 per gallon. This price is two cents less than one week ago and fractions of a penny less than one month ago, but it remains 18 cents more than this date in 2013.

National Average Gas Price Comparison 2011-2014 July 7 2014

With Independence Day in the books, this year’s holiday registered the highest price since 2008 at $3.66.  This surpassed the price per gallon for the holiday from each of the previous five years: 2013 ($3.48); 2012 ($3.34); 2011 ($3.57); 2010 ($2.74); and 2009 ($2.62), but was still well below the all-time-high for the date of $4.10 in 2008.

The pump price in four states continues register above $4.00 per gallon: Hawaii ($4.33), Alaska ($4.22), California ($4.14) and Washington State ($4.01). While prices in all but three states (Idaho, Wyoming and Utah) are higher than the same date last year, prices in 38 states have dropped over the past week, led by a handful of Midwestern states: Michigan (-10 cents), Ohio (-7 cents), Missouri (-6 cents), Kentucky (-6 cents), Illinois   (-5 cents) and Minnesota (-4 cents).  Prices over the past two weeks have been more evenly split.  Prices in 23 states and Washington, DC have increased – led by Alaska (+7 cents), Utah (+6 cents) and Idaho (+5 cents) – while prices in 27 states have fallen – led by Ohio (-17 cents), Indiana (-12 cents) and Illinois (-12 cents). With high wholesale gasoline prices beginning to subside in many parts of the country, AAA expects pump prices for many US motorists to continue to tick lower over the coming week.

10 Most Expensive Avg Gas Prices-6-30

Violence in Iraq continues to impact global oil prices, but as production in the south of the country remains unaffected, the fear of a disruption to supply has abated. Market watchers are keeping a close eye on the situation, but the risk premium that had pushed oil prices to 2014 highs has subsided in recent trading sessions. These elevated oil prices have meant stubbornly high pump prices for motorists, but as oil prices have eased retail gas prices have finally started to follow suit.

At the close of formal trading on the NYMEX, West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude oil settled 53 cents lower at $103.53.

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